SPOTLIGHT Community STORY Scott Kearnan
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence You’ve seen them floating through the crowds at countless community soirees: from black tie galas like Fenway Health’s Men’s Event to “Drag Bingo” Mondays at Club Café. They catch your eye with their stark white makeup and billowing dresses. You’ve probably snagged one to take a selfie or two. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are one of the most recognizable LGBT-focused organizations in Boston—but to those of us in the laity, they’re also among the most mysterious. Where did they come from? What do they stand for? Do I have to tell them all my sins? The short answers are: San Francisco; universal joy and loving acceptance; and no, unless you’re into that.
Okay, here’s a bit more background on this unique, spirited team of community builders. The Sisters’ religious references have attracted controversy over the years, but their loving messages and thoughtful philanthropy are worth serious praise. Can we get an Amen?
WHO ARE THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE? The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a 501c3 nonprofit that describes itself as a “21st-century order of queer nuns.” “We don’t have a particular religious tradition, but we do have a philosophical tradition,” says Sister Eunice X, a founding member of the Boston order. That philosophy is based
Spotlighting New England LGBT organizations and the work they do. Helping you to discover some new neighbors—and fresh facts—about our diverse community.
Sunday in the Park PHOTO Meg Birnbaum
on a respect for diversity and emphasis on socially conscious acts of service, both within and without the LGBT community. The Sisters strives to foster a culture that promotes love—not guilt and stigmatization. “We take our vows seriously, and like all nuns, we take them for life,” says Sister Eunice. “It’s not just about throwing on a dress and makeup,” adds Sister Musique, a co-founder. It takes at least a full year for a prospective Sister to go from “declaring intentions” to becoming a fully professed part of the order. During that time there are certain rites, like developing a community service project, that are part of the process. Aspects of dress denote the pledge’s progress, and eventually, each sister will adopt
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